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The Veiled Christ is one of the most important cultural and artistic monuments in Naples and can be found in the Sansevero Chapel. It arouses the curiosity of many tourists because the marble statue created by Giuseppe Sanmartino seems to have the ability to move and excite anyone who looks at it. The Sansevero Chapel is the casket that holds this and other masterpieces, and is about a 15-minute walk from the Dante, Duomo and Piazza Cavour metro stations.
You are in the historic centre, the beating heart of Naples, ready for an experience that we are sure you will always remember. In addition to the Veiled Christ, this noble chapel holds jewels of international artistic heritage and is full of beauty and mystery. The Veiled Christ is one of, and we are sure to say, the most famous, characteristic and most visited works of art in the city of Naples, attracting thousands of tourists to its presence every year. Many think of the magic of the transparency of the shroud covering Jesus' body, but also look at the other details, such as the ribbing on each part of the body or the detail of the ribcage. The work has undoubtedly been the subject of research, stories and legends for centuries, contributing to making The Veiled Christ one of the most discussed and studied masterpieces of all time.
The Veiled Christ is a horizontal figure by Giuseppe Sanmartino made from a single block of marble. The body of Jesus is life-size and can be seen from above. The Veiled Christ is reconciled so that his feet are in harmony with his body, on the other hand, his face is turned slightly to the right. The statue is placed on a large platform. The elements that stand out for their precision and beauty are the face and the swollen frontal vein, but also the instruments of the Passion placed at his feet, such as the crown of thorns, the tongs and the nails.
Veiled Christ: the story of an artistic and cultural masterpiece of Naples
The cultural and artistic heritage of the city of Naples is vast and full of wonders that make the whole world envious. To this repertoire of artistic masterpieces belongs the marble sculpture 'Veiled Christ'. The image of this sculpture has spread all over the world and has become one of the icons of the city, which every year attracts tourists and citizens to visit the Sansevero Chapel where the marble statue the Veiled Christ stands.
This sculpture was commissioned by Raimondo di Sangro with the intention of being placed in the family mausoleum to amaze anyone entering the chapel. We can say that the artist really succeeded. The now lifeless body of the Veiled Christ lies horizontally on a bed. His head is then supported by two large pillows with tufts at the corners. A transparent, thin shroud covers his body and reveals a slender, gaunt form. The fabric appears as a light, transparent veil. In fact, the face is clearly recognisable and the individual bones of the thorax are visible. Finally, the symbols of martyrdom: a crown of thorns, nails and pincers are placed at his feet.
It was Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero, who commissioned a life-size statue of Jesus covered by a transparent shroud. The work is supposed to have been made by the sculptor Antonio Corradini, but when he died prematurely, he left only a small terracotta statue as a sketch of the work that is now in the Museum of San Martino. The very famous marble sculpture of the Veiled Christ was created in 1753 by the Neapolitan artist Giuseppe Sanmartino, who was able to create a rare and beautiful work of art through his mastery. Life-size Jesus lies on a bed covered with a shroud, his head resting between two pillows; at his feet, to one side, are the crown of thorns, the tongs and nails removed from the cross. The statue itself already has a moving evocative power, but what makes it an artistic masterpiece, known throughout the world and studied by many art historians, is the marble veil, which manages to resemble a soft cloth and to highlight every muscle, every detail of the veiled Christ.
Veiled Christ Naples: the legends of the most studied work in the world
The Veiled Christ is located in the Sansevero Chapel of Raimondo di Sangro, Prince of Sansevero. It is no secret that myths and legends hover about him, depicting him mostly as an alchemist or even as a madman or a witch. Therefore, many stories about alchemy, laboratory studies and experiments have arisen around the figure of the Dead Jesus statue. Much astonishment and scepticism must have been aroused by the fascination and incredible realism of this figure, from whose curtain one can even admire the veins on Christ's forehead. Yet countless studies have confirmed the authenticity of the work, which is simply the result of extraordinary talent.
The marble veil, and more precisely its mysterious creation, has given rise to a series of legends about the sculpture, the chapel and its eccentric owner, the Prince of Sansevero. The most famous of the stories told is surely the legend that the Prince, a scientist and alchemist, taught the artist Giuseppe Sanmartino the alchemical process of marbling a piece of cloth. This would mean that the veil is not carved in marble, but would be the result of the calcification of the fabric in marble crystals. But is all this true or just hearsay?
The legend has attracted so much curiosity that it has even sparked a search for the truth, to the point of commissioning how the work was made. In the historical archive of the Banco di Napoli to dissuade any legend or rumour there is proof of a receipt of payment to the artist that says: 'for the making of the marble veil that covers our Lord'. Although the shroud is known to be made of marble, the figure of the Veiled Christ always manages to raise doubts because of its perfect execution and the mystical atmosphere of the place.
Tour of Naples with a visit to the Veiled Christ in the Sansevero Chapel: info, times and tickets
The Veiled Christ is the jewel in the crown of the Sansevero Chapel, now consecrated and dedicated to the Princes of Sansevero. In the main room, together with the sculpture of Sanmartino, there are ten statues representing the virtues, nine of which are dedicated to housewives and one to disappointment, dedicated to Prince Raimondo's father. Other important elements include the anatomical machines, disembodied bodies of men and women, which allow a detailed observation of the entire circulatory system. One of the main reasons why millions of tourists visit the chapel every year is the unique atmosphere inside. The chapel is closed on Tuesdays, but can be visited during the rest of the week.
Visit the city of Naples with one of the largest historical centres in Europe, a labyrinth of fascinating alleys and lively squares. You can try exploring it on your own, but if you want to make sure you don't get lost, join this 2.5-hour guided walking tour we offer!
Explore all the cathedrals, stroll along the avenues, discover the squares and the most beautiful viewpoints in the city centre. Visit the Sansevero Chapel to admire the marble sculpture of the Veiled Christ by Giuseppe Sanmartino, which is so perfect that it is thought to have been created by magic.
Here are the opening and closing times of the Sansevero Chapel to see the Veiled Christ:
Open daily: 9am to 7pm, last admission allowed 30 minutes before closing time. Closed on Tuesdays.
Visit the wonderful historic centre of Naples with us on a guided walking tour and be enchanted by the famous statue of the Dead Jesus and the other great works in the Sansevero Chapel.